The Big Swallow

Dear Dr. Batman.

Every night my mouth gets dry and I try to convince myself that it is from the allergy pill I have taken. In the morning I can barely part my lips and my whole mouth feels like it is full of cotton, as if I had been at the dentist all night getting painful injections, mouth puffed up and out, red cheeks pulsating with pain.

I swallow carefully, a few times in a row, even though there is nothing to swallow. I reach for the tall glass of clear, cold water with lemon that stands next to me on the wooden bed stand and take a few tentative sips.

Yes, my mouth is dry, check. It is a bit scratchy, check. Can I call it an official sore throat? No. Is it “The Dreaded Eppiglottitis?” Thank God, no or at least not yet. I rue the day that happens to me again, for the third time (or is it the fourth?) My fellow eppiglottitis sufferers know what I mean, they know EXACTLY what I mean; it’s not a pain that you can ever forget. When we get it, we get it BAD, there is no way of getting it any other way. It doesn’t come in light, medium or strong degrees, it only comes in “devastating and horrific.” Believe me, childbirth is nothing compared to this.

Apparently, there is a vaccine that is given to children that could prevent this from ever happening to adults again but no one will give it to us grown-ups. I’ve asked “why?” a bunch of times but apparently “it’s not used for this purpose.” There are a million things used for different purposes that help other conditions not used for the original intentions but help others with different maladies. Why no one will look into this, I HAVE NO IDEA.

Acute catarrhal pharyngitis. The oropharynx is...

I was put on methotrexate, a drug for cancer, when I didn’t have cancer. I had Fibromyalgia and my hot-shot brainiac crazy as all hell Rheumatologist prescribed it to me. It made me feel great, best drug I was on. Unfortunately, it had bad side effects so I couldn’t stay on it but boy, did it help. He thought outside the box and while I couldn’t take the drug, the man was a genius. A crazy, arrogant genius but still, a genius.

Epiglottitis is a bitch, there’s no way around that. It’s a sure-fire way to get the worst possibile pain and a speedy pass to the Emergency Room if you feel your throat swelling up and you have trouble breathing. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for SOME CREATIVE doctors to at least look into the reasons why we CAN’T have the vaccine that is given regularly to babies.

People, doctors, do not want to go out of their comfort zones, even if it is to save people an enormous amount of pain. A medical friend in England asked me why the American doctors were so hesitant to do this, I had no answer. To her, there was an illness and a cure, it made sense. It makes sense to me too. What happened to “First do no harm?” I guess that is antiquated or is now synonymous with “It’s not in my job description.”

That really stinks. Help us, someone, please.

There is only one pediatrician that I remember from when my adult children were little that I can imagine going out of his way to even think about this. He recently returned from helping sick people in Africa. He’s THAT kind of nice guy. Please, Dr. Batman from MKMG?

If anyone, I know you would try or at least think about it, It would mean so much to so many people. Please, will you just read this letter? I know you will do at least that much, I wouldn’t bother to send it to anyone else.

You’ve always been kind to everyone, moms, dads and especially children. Just take a quick look.

Thanks in advance.

Eppiglottitis Mom

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#Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

Credit: We Heart It

 

Nowhere To Go, In Time Or Place

I felt the tears of uncertainty and dread spring to my eyes. I quickly wiped them away with the back of my hand because if I didn’t they would stick to my face like hot glue. Change hasn’t happened in our lives for years but I know, in my gut, we will be saying good-bye to the world as we knew it, forever.

Saying good-bye to the past, yet clinging, pathetically, to the memories that I hold dear. Old memories that rust in time but bloom in my brain like day lilies.

Another chapter will be beginning but we don’t know when or where.  Getting older is not easy unless you are a sweet, innocent child. Children love to turn another year older, there is no death in their future, just presents, and  cakes with candles, hope, fun and friends.The aged lack hope universally.

For us, their parents or grandparents, it takes on a whole other realm of closing a chapter and warily beginning another, the last third chapter or the beginning of the end. We don’t celebrate parties in the same way anymore; birthdays come around, it feels like, every few months. There is no happiness in aging when you can’t go back in time. Even memories become stale, photographs, blurry.

Our bodies hurt, pain clings to us like Saran wrap on cheese, transparent, almost impossible to remove. It holds us hostage in our weary, broken bodies

I hold on to the wooden stair rail, going downstairs slowly, sticky over time, but now I am fond of the predictable stickiness in certain areas. I have walked up and down these stairs thousands of times, with sick babies, and naughty toddlers, with gleeful children and with young adults I was proud to call my children. I walked with my husband supporting me and me supporting him.

I am not sure of the timeline, of when we will leave. It could be as early as six months but it could be more like a year, maybe two. The jittery nerves inside me says it will sneak up on us like a deer crossing our path in front of our car in the dead of the night.

I have practiced saying good-bye to everyone I love and have to leave behind in my shaken heart. I will be leaving this home, this carrier of memories. I know I am on my way, still clutching to some false sense of security.

Entering into another phase of my life, of our lives. I have to control myself from me not to sob out loud. I know this tiny, white house which in six months could be painted navy blue or brown. I don’t know, I will never know. But it will never be my house again. My children will not grow up here, the trees we planted for the children will stay and the two big gray rocks other people’s children will climb on.

We are homeless, we have nowhere to go although we can stay for a little time in a few places but never like this again. The locks on the doors will be changed in two days, maybe three, new owners will eventually move in.  The FOR SALE sign on the front yard seems to deface our property. It has already defaced our home.

English: for sale sign

A chapter in our lives is about to be over, a new chapter has not yet been written, the lines blur together. We are standing, clutching on to memories not yet ready or willing to create new ones. I am not sure I will ever want to make new ones.

We step aside, we cling to the naked walls and to each other with the depths of our depression in our hearts beating slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Other Love

Mama Bear and her two cubs

Mama Bear and her two cubs (Photo credit: pixieclipx)

Dear Kids,

In case you haven’t heard it, it’s true what they say about mothers and their children.this is a bond like no other.

You and your sister are attached to me in a special way

I will always feel the need to protect you, to keep you safe.

No matter how old you get, you will always be our babies.

This special bond that will never go away or lessen.

Like a mother bear and her cubs I will protect you fiercely and I will do

not anything possible but everything to keep you from harm’s way.

This is nothing to joke about, this is serious but not something you will understand

until you have children of your own.

If it means that you are mad at me, I will deal with that, my job is to protect you.

I will go to the ends of the earth to do that, as many parents would too.

If you decide to go on this trip and it is alarmingly dangerous and I disapprove,

you will look out your window from the plane

and I will be the person on the tarmac, suited up, in bright yellow and orange,

against the night’s dark sky

flashing my arms, not letting that plane leave.

You do not know this side of me.

It never weakens, it can’t be destroyed.

You can joke and laugh and call me “silly” or “mushy” or say that “I can’t drive”

I’m alright with that

But, do not ever underestimate a mother’s love for her children.

Ever.

What Makes Me Smile

A selection of seashells, hand-picked from the...

Image via Wikipedia

The name Schweddy Balls (and the SNL skit) by Ben & Jerry’s, their coconut layer cake ice cream (divine), a baby laughing, sunshine after ten straight days of rain. Also, my dog lying on my feet, the sound of my kids having fun, watching the ocean and feeling its power and picking up seashells.

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Old Pain Anew

Pregnancy and blood

Image by ec-jpr via Flickr

Many moons ago

They told me that I probably would never conceive babies.

I was lost inside myself with pain and grief, tears dripped down me like a steady rainfall.

I suffered emotionally and physically, drugs, blood drawn, nightly injections plunged

in to my thigh from my husband.

The pain took over me, possessed me with the sole, solitary routine of sadness and grief.

They told me I couldn’t have babies, that I was barren.

I listened to them every bright sunny day until every dark dismal night for two and a half years.

Those stupid fool nurses and doctors who clucked their heads at my chances were wrong.

When I got pregnant it was the happiest time in my life, I burst with blossoms.

I loved being a glowing pregnant woman sharing a secret with her unborn child

my hand rubbing my tummy lightly in soft circles.

My children were born twenty-one months apart, now 17 and almost 19.

I gave birth to each of them, a blessing, a gift, two presents from G-d.

The years pass too quickly, like a frenzied movie at the wrong speed.

I miss the emotional softness from young children

kisses soft as goose down, sloppy hugs, wet kisses and shiny faces like lit pumpkins.

My son is leaving for college in three weeks

I  realized this pain is very familiar, it is the feeling of loss.

It hurts but I am older now however,

the past, as I know it, is gone forever.

Time moves at a rapid pace robbing us of memories.

They are leaving me, and not turning back to wave good-bye,

I know that they will return but it is a new stage, a turned chapter, a new course.

It is a big change and one that we all may love but tonight, in this instant,

I feel barren, all over again.

“(S)He’s Leaving Home, Bye, Bye”*

Kleinkind beim Laufen

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(April, 2011)

My son, my first-born made his final decision for college in September. He’s excited, thrilled and after celebrating with him, I slipped away and am now holed up in my bedroom, sobbing. It’s not like I haven’t been prepared for this, it’s not like he’s still six it just feels like he was six a moment ago. He’s my boy and as much as I know how happy he is with his choice, the deposit put me over the edge. I fell apart; it was now official.

I know I am being ridiculous, this is not sudden bad news but it feels like a total shock to me. I am weeping and I can’t explain it except to say that while I am so happy for him, I feel vastly sorry for myself. This is my son, my first child, the kid I called “buddy” so many times my husband was worried people would think that was his name. This boy is a delight, a warm, compassionate, smart young man. At the age of 2 1/2 he stunned a grown-up friend when he used the word “compromise.” When the friend doubted him and asked him if he knew what that meant, he explained it beautifully: “If I want to go to bed at 9 and my daddy says 7 then we compromise in the middle.” You can’t argue with facts.

(June, 2011)

I lost it today, in the supermarket between the pizza rolls and the pizza bagels, two past favorite foods of my son. The tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying, quietly, discreetly but that was just strength of will on my part. I could have sobbed but I held myself together. My son is graduating High School in a week and a half. The day after, he leaves to go to his old camp to be a counselor. I never liked being left, that’s for sure. My parents left me alone a lot when I was younger so they could travel together in Europe. I would cry hysterically but once the yellow taxi disappeared from the view from my sixth floor kitchen window, I was alright.

I feel, like many other mothers and fathers feel that he is leaving me and us, the family. I know I am overreacting but this is how I feel. It’s a great thing, a joyful thing but the good feeling hasn’t caught up to my heart yet. In time, I’m sure it will. I just have to get used to it but it is a drawn out process.  I like to think that when he actually leaves FOR college I will be better, but who am I trying to kid?  I’ve never been great at change and this is a big one.

It doesn’t help that my daughter, only one grade year apart from her brother, will be a Senior in High School come September. This little girl of mine is smart, independent and always knew what she wanted from the minute she was born. She planned her birthday party themes four years in advance and stuck to each one of them. She is a fierce animal lover, and vegetarian, she is very smart, extraordinarily beautiful and has an incredible quick wit. This girl, wrapped her arms around my neck for years and wouldn’t let go. No one else could soothe her except me. Soon, she too, will be running out the door, this independent free spirit that I fervently admire.

In our hearts, our secret fear is that our sons and daughters will forget us. So, I am saying this now. Please remember we love you so much. Please don’t forget us or stop loving us. Keep in touch and the hug you give when you visit, try to make it last a second or two longer so that we can remember just how good it feels.

*Courtesy of The Beatles song

The Letter

Thomas the Tank Engine depicted in the TV Series

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Kate,

It’s been a long time since we last talked or wrote each other. How are you? I have a feeling I know. I can’t believe our boys are graduating from High School in four weeks.  It doesn’t matter that so many miles and so many years have passed by. We still have the memories, the boys still have a connection and so do we. As I grow older I realize that there are many types of friendships on so many levels and they are all different and good.

Right now, I am stuck in between pride and delight and loss and simple sadness.  It seems like it was yesterday that our two boys, mine with his dark brown hair and yours with his light blond hair were playing in the sandbox together and sipping apple juice from juice box containers, tilting their heads back and drinking from the tiny spout without the straw. Our whole family called it the “Nick” way for many years; it made quite an impression! I can still see us watching our children together, sitting at a picnic bench, side by side, while they dug in the heavy, beige sand. Now, our sons are graduating High School and heading soon, after the summer, to college.

Wasn’t it yesterday, Katie, that I was cradling my newborn son in my arms, his head snuggling against my shoulder, the sweet, milky, powdery smell of baby? Trying to remember the smell is virtually impossible. Even back then, when I breathed it in daily, hourly, every second of the night and day, I wanted to bottle it, especially for nostalgic times like these.

Adam is going to the prom in less than a week with his girlfriend. The word “girlfriend” does not roll off my tongue naturally yet, because the word was always forbidden in the house…that is, until a few months ago. It makes me happy to see Adam and his girlfriend together, and it makes me sad, for them, that they will be saying goodbye to each other very soon. But, that’s how life works. This is all so new to him and I can’t protect him from pain any more now than I could protect him once he was properly suited up when he played football in the early years. Our children need to work things out and learn by themselves, they will need to grow up on their own.

I am trying to prepare myself for the quiet stillness of the house without Adam here at home. Julia, my beautiful blond 16 and a half year old “baby”, has only one more year left of High-School and then she too, graduates. It’s all a bit overwhelming, it feels like the powerful ride of the dark-green ocean waves with no rest in-between. When Julia graduates from High-School and is in college I can imagine that this tiny house, our family home will seem cavernous. We cannot imagine the silence creeping into our house like moths, flapping their fragile wings without a sound.

I wonder if we will miss the kids’  booming voices, the fighting, the shrieks, and their clothes all over their floors. I am sure we will at first. I imagine this whole, new experience summed up in a word: “bitter-sweet” some happy, some sad, like the strong branches with delicate red berries growing on them.

I still carry the picture in my mind of the boys playing with smiling Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends. How we built bridges and tunnels with wooden Brio pieces time and time again. Thomas and his Friends and tracks and the Conductor are still somewhere in my mildewy basement; I could not say good-bye to them too.

Love, Jane

High School, Like Being Pregnant, Only Different

I glowed all through my two pregnancies. I loved being pregnant and felt blessed and  beautiful, healthy and alive and happy. Despite the normal pregnancy disturbances, like peeing every few hours at night, it was a very special time for me.  UNTIL.

Up until the ninth month when I became so uncomfortable and stressed that I couldn’t wait to give birth. It happened with both my children, same time, same bat channel. The angel inside became too big, too frisky and punched like a son of a bitch, incessantly.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t walk, I waddled and I couldn’t get comfortable anytime or anywhere. At that point, the little angel you have carried and protected in your womb (whom you have nurtured, sung to, played music for and sang the alphabet song a thousand times)  becomes a devil. The child you wanted to carry forever becomes the baby you can’t wait to give birth to. GET IT OUT OF ME NOW. I’ve had enough.

We have two teenagers in High School, one is a Junior and one is a Sophomore. I often get sad thinking about them leaving home and going to college. It will be “so quiet” I say to my husband as he rolls his eyes upwards. There will be only one year between our son going to college and our daughter. We will be empty nesters and that reminds me of really old people. HOWEVER. In the last six months they have become incredibly obnoxious each in his or her own way. If I start recanting some of the things they do I immediately get angina.  Let’s just say, we are at a point, where we ARE FINE with them to going to college. We might even relish some quiet time instead of all the yelling, arguing, cursing, fighting….that has gone on for years.  IT’S GETTING OLD. FAST. There are certain fights that my son will initiate just to fight. To him, it’s a sport. He will end up yelling up a storm with my husband. To me, he uses curse words that I hate and find incredibly disrespectful. This was the boy I was raising to be a good, solid, young man. You wouldn’t know it from the way he speaks. He apparently hasn’t learned that I am a parent and not his posse of friends that curse together, those macho things. Our daughter, known in the past to, shall we say, interpret the truth differently than we do, provokes her brother, flies under the radar and basically tries to get her older brother in trouble all the time. She often succeeds and while we hear some interesting tales, she will rat him out in a heartbeat if it means saving her own backside.  It may just be her life goal to see how much trouble she can get him into.

So, when the children are packing up their suitcases for college, we will be ready. For a little peace, a little quiet, for doors that are not slammed shut, and rooms that  don’t look like hell holes. Rooms that if, and only if you dare, step inside you are risking your life and your decrepit limbs.

Remember, kids, we love you and will miss you, don ‘t forget to call. Have a safe trip.  Love, Mom and Dad

Stop Telling Me What To Do !!!!!!

I am absolutely disgusted with the way that information is disseminated from “somewhere” to the public. Who are these people and why do they keep telling us what to do and what not to do, usually within a month or two or five years.   I can’t stand it.  Eat red meat. Don’t eat red meat. Eat fat-free or low fat cheese; wait, we’re wrong  (not that they ever say they are wrong) we changed our minds: now enjoy Brie or Gouda or friggin Munster.  Take a vitamin, don’t take a vitamin.

I’m furious. I feel like that movie in the 70’s,or 80’s,  something about Broadcast News or Broadcast  Something and the guy starts opening windows and saying “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!”  What choice do we, the common people have? We can’t start yelling from windows, you’d probably drag us to the nearest hospital.

I don’t think it’s fair to us and I am not sure who to blame.  Is it the Government?  The FDA?  Oh hell, for all we know it could be the TSA and they are a fine one to talk.  This has been going on for decades and probably way before that.  Lay your baby on it’s back when it sleeps, lay it on it’s stomach, lay it’s on it’s left side, right side or rotate like the way you cook a rotisserie chicken.

How on earth are we supposed to know what to do when the rules keep changing every five minutes. How about this?  SHUT UP. You’re not sure, absolutely not sure about the information? Keep it to yourself.  Don’t tell us; that way we don’t have to listen and feel agitated and hurry to do the “right thing” and change and you don’t end up sounding like complete and utter idiots. Not to mention the fact that we have all been spending a lot of money; money that we don’t have for all this……stuff.  I’ve had enough. We all have. Listen to me, to us.

Drink wine, don’t drink wine, take a vitamin, don’t take a vitamin, be thin,  exercise a lot, actually you don’t need to exercise THAT much; wait it depends on your body type. What IS your body type? Peach, pear, apple, or cinnamon raisin?   Eat tofu, don’t eat tofu……YOU, whoever you are, are making people crazy and this is not a good time for any more craziness. Many of us do not have jobs, that’s right, no money coming in. We can’t afford to switch to different products all the time, back and forth; buy organic, no don’t, it really does not make a single, solitary difference. Except it’s more expensive.

Many of us have loved ones in the military, many people have lost people to sickness: yes that’s covered, no it’s not, call your insurance: it will be covered, no, it will not. That’s not “our” decision, it’s the doctors;  wait, no, it’s not the doctor’s decision at all it’s the insurance company…and so forth.

Here is some good, healthy, sound advice.  If you are not one hundred and fifty percent sure of what you are saying? Don’t say it. If there is any reason to doubt the study, study some more. If you don’t have to release the data in a hurry (which has not stopped you before) don’t release it. And, if you’re confused or unsure, don’t speak. Don’t lecture us, don’t sway us, don’t talk. Don’t give us any new information until it has been proven and tested more times than you can breathe. Keep it to yourself. Like that’s going to happen….